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African-American History On Display At Newly Opened National Museum

WASHINGTON D.C. (CBSNewYork) -- The new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, opened to the public on Saturday.

President Obama spoke at the dedication ceremony telling the crowd in attendance that the museum would help tell a "richer and fuller" story of African-Americans.

Early Saturday morning, CBS2's Marlie Hall had a preview of what visitors could expect when touring the museum.

Visitors will see thousands of artifacts -- some so large that the museum had to be built around them, including a segregation era rail car and a guard tower from a notorious Louisiana prison.

Guests are encouraged to start with an exhibit on slavery in the U.S. which displays shackles, a slave cabin, and Harriet Tubman's shawl.

A tour brings visitors chronologically through freedom, segregation, and civil rights -- stories which are told through the help of an interactive lunch counter.

Overhead is a biplane flown by Tuskegee airmen in World War II.

The museum's collection was built from scratch. Many of its 37,000 artifacts were donated.

"For me it's like becoming a part of history," curator Michele Gates Moresi said.

She has worked for a decade to make the museum possible.

"To help make it happen is pretty special and humbling," she said.

The museum's upper floors celebrate African-American achievements in sports and culture. That's where you'll find Chuck Berry's Cadillac convertible, and Muhammad Ali's boxing robe.

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